Five teams made it to the final round of the second annual Maine Cyber Defense Competition (MECDC), held on Saturday, March 19 on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono. Each team was recognized for the exceptional quality and value of its community service projects and poster presentations.
Top honors awarded for the competition went to 1st place: John Bapst Memorial High School; 2nd place: Islesboro Central School; and 3rd place: Northern Penobscot Tech Region III.
Participation in this year’s competition was greater than last year and plans already are underway to identify additional funding to support next year’s MECDC event.
The key challenge of the daylong event was the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) CyberNEXS competition in which students had to quickly remove vulnerabilities from their assigned networked computers while simultaneously defending them from a “Red Team,” that tried to hack in to their systems.
Senator Susan Collins conveyed her enthusiastic support for the competition. “I want to congratulate the University of Maine System for launching programs like MECDC to raise awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We all know that the development of skills and expertise in the critical fields is essential for our nations’ students – and for the country as a whole – to successfully compete in the 21st Century’s global economy”, wrote Collins in her letter.
The event also was attended by Angelo Castigliola III, who orchestrated the creation of MyMainePrivacy.org, winner of the 2010 Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Challenge. Castigliliola presented special prizes to the participants on behalf of UNUM, where he is employed as a systems analyst with special responsibilities in the security architecture area.
Project Director, Dr. Raymond Albert, professor of Computer Science at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, was joined by his colleagues Mark Goodridge (University of Maine, Augusta), George Markowsky (University of Maine, Orono) and JoAnne Wallingford (University of Maine, Presque Isle). Their collective efforts, along with financial support from the University of Maine System (UMS) Strategic Investment Fund, helped make the exciting event possible.
According to Dr. Albert, “This event has again demonstrated that it is possible to raise high school student awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs offered within the UMS and promote civic engagement through significant community service projects all while engaging the participants in an exciting competitive event that also helps to address the growing national need for a knowledgeable and skilled cyber security workforce.”
Anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to contact Dr. Albert at UMFK at (207) 834-8696, or by visiting the MECDC website at: http://mecdc.maine.edu